RULED OUT: An alteration to the driver ranking system means V8 Supercars talent Scott Pye will no longer be able to compete at next month’s Bathurst 12 Hour. Photo: GETTY IMAGES 012216scottpyeMOTOR SPORT
V8 Supercars driver Scott Pye has been forced out of the Bathurst 12 Hour on account of a last minute change to the International Automobile Federation (FIA) seedings.
Pye was due to drive with Maranello Motorsport, but with his driver ranking upgraded by the FIA from silver to gold, he can no longer fill the position.
He is the second V8 Supercars driver this week to have been ruled out of next month’s endurance event, defending Bathurst 1000 champion Craig Lowndes the other. He will not take part after breaking his collarbone during a weekend motorbike ride.
The Bathurst 12 Hour demands no more than two seeded (platinum or gold) drivers can be on a team.
Now the FIA has stated that all full-time V8 Supercars drivers will be declared gold licence drivers.
Pye was set to drive with Mika Salo, Toni Vilander (both platinum) and Tony D’Alberto (silver), but the team has now been left to search for a new driver.
Perthville’s Grant Denyer, who has a silver rating, is a possible candidate to fill that position, having had experience with a Ferrari 458 GT3.
He and D’Alberto teamed up in last year’s Australian GT Championship and finished as runners-up.
The news will be difficult for Pye to take considering that the Bathurst 12 Hour rules at the time of team entries being taken stated that driver rankings would remain as they were on December 1.
Mark Coffey, Maranello Motorsport boss, told Speedcafe老域名 he would not dispute the change.
“Part of the endurance game around the world is to find the right balance of drivers and seeing Scott as silver was a good get at the time,” he said.
“But I think you’ve got to be fair and understand that a full-time V8 Supercar driver should be ranked as a gold.
“I’d like to see that race run on a competitive, level playing field and I don’t want people to think that we’ve tricked the system.
“I didn’t hesitate to agree that he should be gold.”
No other driver lineups have been affected by the changes.
One V8 driver who will take part, Garth Tander, feels the Bathurst 12 Hour will actually prove to be a bonus when the Supercars championship starts in Adelaide in March.
Tander said the chance to get actual racing under his belt ahead of the season-opening Clipsal 500 can only be a benefit.
“It certainly won’t hurt, that’s for sure,” Tander said.
“Going through the process of a race weekend – qualifying, the race, the strategy, all that sort of stuff – just fires the mind back up again.”
The event is far from some kind of exhibition drive as well, with Tander saying the quality of field shows how determined everyone is to secure a win.
The Bathurst 12 Hour event runs from February 5-7.
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